Commercial Real Estate & Advisory

Old-line residential broker seizes new markets

By Daniel Geiger | July 29, 2014

Warburg Realty inks a lease for a new office in the Flatiron district and aims to open at least one other in Brooklyn. One of its two offices on the Upper East Side will go.

Founded in 1896, the residential brokerage firm Warburg Realty built a business selling apartments in some of the city’s most venerable neighborhoods, including the Upper East Side, Gramercy Park, and more recently, TriBeCa.

Now the firm wants to expand its business into decidedly more contemporary residential precincts that have become some of the city’s most desirable—and expensive—places to live.

To pave the way, the firm just leased roughly 5,000 square feet at 18 W. 21st St., between Fifth and Sixth avenues. That puts Warburg at the juncture of the Flatiron district and Chelsea, and also in the vicinity of the High Line—all areas whose residential markets have soared in recent years.

“More people are living downtown and we have to as well,” said Frederick Warburg Peters, who has been the president of the firm and a broker there since 1991. “I have had a TriBeCa office for many years and we have been open in Harlem for many years, and I live and spent a lot of my career on the Upper West Side, but I think there was this hole in the middle for us and this space is going to fill it.”

Warburg Realty took 18 W. 21st St.’s entire fourth floor for 10 years. Asking rent is $50 per square foot.

Mr. Peters said that the brokerage firm has focused on townhouse and co-op apartment sales, but in areas like the High Line and Chelsea, where several condo construction projects are underway, he expects the firm to handle those types of deals as well. He said the firm just won the assignment to market a new ground-up building being constructed in Chelsea, a development which contributed to his decision to open an office in the area. Warburg Realty, which has four locations in Manhattan, will close one of two offices it had on the Upper East Side now that it has the Chelsea location.

“It was smarter for us to consolidate our Upper East Side location into one and open this new location in Chelsea,” Mr. Peters said.

The firm is expanding on balance, however, and will continue to push into new markets, including at least one on the other side of the East River. Mr. Peters said the company plans to open one or possibly two locations in Brooklyn in upcoming months.

Max Talpalar and James Costello, brokers at Sinvin Real Estate, represented Warburg Realty in the deal. Owner G.A.M. Real Estate, LLC was represented by Doug Rice, an executive at Rice & Associates.